There was a pep rally, complete with high school cheerleaders and a pep band, at Chatom Elementary on Friday morning, Oct. 18, even though the K-4 school has no football team.  And there was good cause as this is when students at this Washington County school got the news that their school earned an A on the latest Alabama public school report card.

You an watch it on this Facebook link.

Chatom is one of 170 elementary schools in the state to earn an A.  The vast majority of these are in more affluent systems with significant local funding.

“This is just more affirmation of the progress this entire school system is making,” said one long-time administrator.  The entire system is rated as a B.  There are seven schools in this system.  One is an A, four are a B and only two are a C.  No other system in southwest Alabama is rated higher.

This news is significant as Woodland Prep charter continues its effort to open a school north of Chatom.  It’s hard to imagine that many parents will take their children from an A rated school to one with no track record.  Woodland Prep is proposed to be a K-8 school and open in the 2020-21 school year.  Chatom is the nearest elementary school to the charter site.

The only other elementary school in the county is at McIntosh.  (Elementary grades are part of the K-12 schools at Millry, Fruitdale and Leroy.) It is rated as a C.  However, it is at least 30 miles from the Woodland Prep site.  Since parents will have to furnish transportation to any student attending Woodland Prep, it is not very likely that many students from the McIntosh area will attend the proposed charter.

(Charter supporters originally indicated that the charter would be located near McIntosh.  In fact, their charter application to the state charter school commission had a support letter from a then county commissioner based on this information.  However, when this commissioner, who did not seek re-election, learned the truth, he recanted his support.)

Congratulations to everyone at Chatom Elementary.  You have made your community proud.